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Modularity and the AR style rifle have gone hand in hand since the platform’s inception. These guns were built to be assembled like Legos, and that’s how we’ve treated them ever since, building and rebuilding around the solid core of the receiver. As the guns have evolved, they’ve become smaller, lighter, and more reliable. We’re used to seeing fly-weight AR-15s and one-off design concepts. Now the same thing is happening to the .308 AR platform and DRD Tactical is leading the way. Their new take-down M762 is challenging the basic perceptions of the overgrown AR.
I’ve never really been a big fan of the .308 AR rifles. I prefer lighter, more compact rifles for close quarters work. So I was a bit skeptical when I was presented with the DRD Tactical M762. The gun just didn’t make sense to me.
Why would anyone want an heavy rifle that could fit into a small suitcase? Wait–that makes me sound like a gun-grabber. That’s not what I mean. I own an AR that fits in a briefcase–and I don’t have any issues with that one. The bigger rifle, though? Can it be broken down small enough to fit in a compact case and still retain any of the characteristics of a hard hitting, full sized, big-bore battle rifle?
Or would the M762 would be some elaborate proof of concept–a gimmick? Gimmicks don’t usually shoot very well.
I’ve had the gun for a few months now, and have drug it to the range on multiple occasions. I’ve even taken it on a few longer trips, and the compact size has a clear appeal. I understand it now. There’s nothing about this gun that feels like a proof-of-concept. And at the end of this review, I’m going to have a hard time letting this gun go.
CALIBER: 7.62 x 51mm NATO
WEIGHT: 8.7 lbs
BARREL: Hammer Forged, Chrome lined, 16” or 18″ with 1 in 12 twist
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 20 Rounds (takes Magpul magazine)
BUTTSTOCK/GRIPS: Magpul, 6 position adjustable stock
OPTIC MOUNTING RAIL: MIL-STD 1913 accepts Magpul L4 panels @ 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions
OPERATION: Direct Gas Operated Semi-Automatic
FINISH: Billet Upper and Lower Receiver Hard Coat Anodize Black
Shipped in hard case with custom cut high density foam (see below)
The M762 is a capable rifle. The gun provides solid accuracy and unquestionable reliability. It is highly concealeable–something I’ve never said about a .308. Its safe to say this recipe has never before been available in a package this small. Broken down, this rifle measures in at an astonishing 17 inches long and 5 inches wide. All of these rifles ship in an 18-inch hard case. The case has room for the broken down rifle, a red dot optic, magazines, a cleaning kit, a suppressor, a sidearm and pistol magazines. Fully loaded, the case gets heavy–but the peace of mind that the fully loaded case gives you is worth every ounce.
A weapon system is only as strong as its weakest part; thankfully theM762 is built like a tank. Comprised of billet upper and lower receivers and a hammer forged barrel, this gun leaves nothing to be desired. When picking up the rifle for the first time you will instantly notice the quality of the workmanship and the attention to detail. Every angle, every line, every detail has a weight saving rational behind it, yet the M762 is still robust enough to handle the heavy recoil. The assembled rifle comes in right under the 9 pound mark, a weight that most of these rifles blow right past.
The M762’s defining feature is how it breaks down. The hand guard and barrel can be quickly and easily removed from the rifle. Assembling the rifle is very easy, In fact all you’ve got to do is lock the bolt back, slide the barrel and gas tube into place, hand tighten the barrel nut, slide and lock the handguard into place and you’re done. Then give it a quick function check. In a matter of seconds, that small 17 inch package is now standing tall at 35 inches and ready to rock.
I can’t even begin to explain how dubious I was about this feature at first. The .308 produces serious recoil energy. Would the hand-tightened nut eventually work its self-free? I don’t want to shoot a .308 through a wobbly barrel. On my first visit to the range, I assembled the gun fired 40 rounds down range as fast as I could then quickly took the gun down to examine the tightness of the barrel nut. The gun held together like a champ and was still easily taken apart–hot or not. After multiple range trips, I can confidently say that this system works. The nut stays in place perfectly. Once assembled, this gun has the rigidity you’d expect from any .308.
Shooting the M762
A rifle of this size, weight, and caliber is sometimes hard to handle on the range. A .308 can punish your shoulder, hammer on your eardrums (even when you’re wearing hearing protection), and the weight has a way of wearing you down. Oddly enough the M762 is soft shooting, moderately quiet (from the shooter’s end), and very well balanced.
The gun produced decent groups. A combination of weight, rigidity, and a very impressive muzzle device keeps this rifle shooting flat and fast. The rifle is extremely stable. Swinging from target to target can become challenging as fatigue sets in. The gun has a stainless steel barrel with a heavy profile. As I got tired, I found the gun’s momentum carried the barrel slightly wide of targets as I swung from one to another. It isn’t a featherweight AR-15, for sure. But deliberate, controlled movement makes the weight manageable. This isn’t unique to the M762. Any heavy rifle designed for close quarters work will have the issue.
Groups at 100 yards were consistently between 1.5 and 2 inches. Still—consider the obstacles you face in a design that allows you to quickly remove the barrel. When I think of it that way, I have to cut the M762 a bit more slack. There are a lot of .308s (ones that don’t come apart) that won’t shoot groups this tight.
Even at 2 inches, the groups prove the rifle to be effective. I ran a Nightforce 2.5×10 on the gun for accuracy testing. Yet the scope didn’t fit into the foam the hard case is supplied with, so I found myself relying on the Primary Arms Micro Dot for the majority of the review process. The Micro Dot allowed for realistic 4 inch groups and much faster target acquisition. In the short distances available here in the backwoods of Virginia, the red dot style optics are a natural fit.
While I’m fine with the performance of the gun, I will add this about its philosophy of use. For close quarters, this rifle is superb. Even at typical southern hunting distances, the compact design of the rifle makes it ideal. Yet one big potential of rifles like this is the long range stopping power of the .308. At greater distances, the M762 isn’t going to compare favorably with some bolt-action rifles. But the accuracy is on par for what you’d expect from a semi-auto.
Feeding from Magpul magazines, and dressed with Magpul furniture this gun just looks the part. Beyond looking the part the gun feels the part. The slim aluminum handguard allows for a high C grip on the weapon, leaving no need for forward attachment or grips. If you do feel the need, the hand guard does accept Magpul L4 panels, making attachment as easy as turning a few screws.
Beyond its creature comforts, the M762 has a beveled magazine well, and milled trigger guard, and the gun has standard AR controls. Nothing is ambidextrous, and nothing is overly fancy. Anodized aluminum and polymer is all you get, and for the majority of us, that’s plenty.
The rifle doesn’t ship with sights. This seemed kind of odd to me. If I am going to spend $3250 on a rifle, I would expect some Magpul BUIS, at least, to ship with the gun. But maybe that’s just me. The good news is that the cut foam case does have area removed to accommodate sights. There is also a spot to hold a small red dot optic. The only problem I see with this is you must remove the optic from the rifle for storage in the case.
The Standing Question
Let’s wrap this up with this. In the saturated black rifle market, the M762 truly sets its self apart from the heard both in price and in function. After all of my time with the M762, I’m convinced by both the gun and the compact take-down design. Yet the price is really substantial. $3250!
If we were just comparing rifles, I’d say there were systems on the market that represented a better value. But we’re not comparing apples to apples, because none of those break down into such a small, portable package. And until they do, they can’t be compared.
So how much is this feature worth to you? If you can stomach the hefty price tag of the M762, it won’t disappoint. If you don’t need a take-down .308, and just plan on putting the assembled rifle in your safe–then this may be a harder decision.